Tamil Nadu polls: Slip between cup and lip for AIADMK, DMK candidates

Chennai, Apr 19: The proverb 'There's many a slip between the cup and the lip' is turning out to be true for candidates of the two Dravidian behemoths -- ruling AIADMK and DMK -- with both the parties changing the list of contestants in the May 16 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

Though such musical chair of sorts has been witnessed in AIADMK in the past elections too, this time the change fever has gripped DMK, generally known for its crisp planning, also.

[Special Coverage: Assembly Elections 2016]


AIADMK has revised the list six times, tinkering with the candidates for a number of constituencies after announcing the list earlier this month.

The M Karunanidhi-led DMK not only changed its candidates for Arakkonam and Sholavandan Reserved segments besides Orathanadu, but has also announced it will field its nominee in Ulundurpet, allotted to Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK).

The party will face-off with DMDK founder Vijayakant who had shut the doors on it despite Karunanidhi remaining confident of a tie-up till the actor-politician embraced the four-party People's Welfare Front (PWF).

AIADMK, for its part, has changed party nominees six times since its supremo J Jayalalithaa released the candidates' list on April 4, with the latest revision coming yesterday.

However, Jayalalithaa had in the past elections too replaced candidates, without mentioning any reason.

While both DMK and AIADMK have not officially disclosed the reasons for changing the candidates, it is learnt that local factors play a vital role in such matters.

An AIADMK functionary, announced as a candidate only to be replaced later, said he was a 'victim' of local factionalism.

Requesting anonymity, he said this could have been the case with others also and cited controversy surrounding some candidates.

For instance, a particular candidate, who landed in a controversy last year after a photo of him hoisting the national flag while speaking on mobile phone went viral, was given the seat initially but later replaced by Jayalalithaa.

Certain allegations have also proved detrimental to some of the aspirants, resulting in Jayalalithaa booting them out.

In DMK too, while dissent has come out in the open, the three changes effected were apparently not directly connected to the protests.

92-year old Karunanidhi is grappling with open dissent, with disgruntled party workers even 'hanging' an effigy of former Minister T P Maideen Khan who has been chosen as a DMK candidate.

The issue even reached the door steps of Karunanidhi with a group of party workers from the constituency coming all the way to his Gopalapuram residence here last week accusing Khan of non-performance and seeking a change.

The dissent has come in the open in Anicut and Tiruchirappalli also, prompting Karunanidhi to appeal to sink differences and work in unison for the party's victory in the hustings.

BJP state President Tamilisai Soundararajan said parties had to face such demands during elections. While declining to specifically comment on AIADMK and DMK changing their nominees, she said BJP was able to avoid such alterations as the Saffron outfit had a "vibrant" inner party democracy.

"We drew up our list of candidates after wide-ranging consultations right from the grassroots level to the senior leadership. Still we too received representations from partymen seeking change of nominees in some seats," she said.

"That political parties have such issues to handle during elections is just a fact," she added.


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